The Buffalo Bills shared a major update on the condition of Damar Hamlin on Thursday, January 5 at 10:28 a.m. Eastern time, sharing on Twitter that the 24-year-old safety has made “remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours” after suffering cardiac arrest during the team’s January 2 game.
“Per the physicians caring for Damar Hamlin at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Damar has shown remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours. While still critically ill, he has demonstrated that he appears to be neurologically intact. His lungs continue to heal and he is making steady progress.”
After friends and family shared some brief updates on Hamlin’s progress in the 48 hours following the incident, Bills teammate Kaiir Elam confirmed on Thursday that Hamlin is now awake.
“Our boy is doing better, awake and showing more signs of improvement,” Elam tweeted on January 5. “Thank you God. Keep the prayers coming please. All love 3!”
Hamlin initially collapsed during the team’s Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals after taking a hit to the chest while tackling wide receiver Tee Higgins. Medical personnel rushed to tend to Hamlin, performing CPR for nearly 10 minutes before transporting him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, a level-1 trauma center.
Damar Hamlin Now ‘Gripping the Hands’ of Family: Report
According to ESPN reporter Coley Harvey on January 5, Hamlin is now “gripping the hands of his family members.”
Harvey later tweeted, “Had a chance to speak with a cardiologist (who is NOT treating Damar Hamlin) to get context on how important that ‘neurologically intact’ phrase in the Bills’ statement is. He told me he would only use that term if someone was ‘moving their extremities with some form of purpose, and if they’re able to understand basic commands.'”
Agency 1 Sports, which represents Hamlin, also released a statement noting his improvement and thanking the medical staff who have been caring for him.
“Damar has made substantial improvement overnight,” read the agency’s statement on Twitter. “We are so thankful for all of the first responders, doctors, and hospital staff and every one who has played a role in this process. Please continue to pray for Damar and we will provide updates as they are available.”
Hamlin had received support from around the globe, with athletes and public figures offering their support. President Joe Biden said he spoke to Hamlin’s parents on Wednesday, and over 200,000 GoFundMe donors have raised more than $7 million for Hamlin’s community toy drive since the on-field incident.
Bills Face Uncertainty for Remainder of Season
While Hamlin shows continued progress, the team still faces uncertainty about the remainder of their regular season and playoff schedule. The NFL suspended Monday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the point Hamlin suffered his injury in the first quarter, and has not announced when — or if — it could be completed.
As The Sporting News reported, there could be several options for the NFL to consider including pushing back the AFC Wild Card round by a week and having the Bills and Bengals finish their game in what would be Week 19. The league could also decide not to complete the game and have the Bills and Bengals determine playoff seeding based on their win percentage.
If played, the game could have major playoff implications. The Bills had held the top overall seed in the AFC prior to the game, but the Kansas City Chiefs surpassed them with a win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.